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The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at the UCLA campus

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a 7.5 acre outdoor classroom and research facility on the UCLA campus (University of California, Los Angeles), which is open to the public daily. The garden was started in 1929 along a little creek bed. The first garden manager obtained plant materials by donations from other botanical gardens in the area, such as the Botanical Garden in Mandeville Canyon, Coolidge Rare Plant Gardens in Pasadena and the Huntington Botanical Gardens. It very quickly became an experimental university site for useful subtropical trees and also flourished as an arboretum for the campus consulting landscape architect, Ralph D. Cornell. Today, this outdoor museum contains a diverse collection of plants from all around the world!

The garden’s sections are organized into groupings of plants that are either geographic, climatic or thematic. As an example, they have sections like “Ancient Forest”, “Desert Garden” or “Ferns”. For more information on the different sections of the UCLA Botanical Garden, you can check here. For a map of the gardens and to plan your visit ahead, you can check here.

There are several benches along the many pathways throughout the Botanical Garden to stop and take breaks or have a snack at. Next to the “Bromeliads” section of the garden, along the creek there are a few picnic benches if you wan to stop for a lunch picnic. Its a fun spot to stop, because the kids can see the many turtles and goldfish in the creek close to the picnic area. Several little bridges cross over the creek as you walk your way through the garden.

After visiting the UCLA Botanical Garden we kept walking through the campus. The buildings have been designed by various known and unknown architects and there is a campus “center” where there are shops and restaurants. We stopped for a lunch at a little restaurant before making our way back to our car.

UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
Hours: Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am to 5pm
Closed on University Holidays. Garden closes at 4pm in winter (from Thanksgiving to Martin Luther King Jr Day)

Parking: The garden can be accessed from three gates. There is some metered street parking on the south side on Le Conte Avenue and Manning Drive, or UCLA parking lot 2, entering from Manning Drive.

Tours: Docent led tours are scheduled for the first Saturday of each month at 1pm, meeting at the “Nest” part of the garden. You can get more information about the tours, here.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the exotic flowers when you are at the UCLA Botanical Garden!


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